On this day in 1949 Cecil Celester Cooper was born in Brenham, Texas, which is located between Houston and Austin. He was 18 when the Red Sox selected him in the sixth round of the 1968 draft, and was still just 21 when he got his first cup of coffee as a September callup in 1971.
Cooper was still just 26 but had played six seasons as a member of the Red Sox when he was traded to Milwaukee in December of 1976. The trade sent early Brewer great George Scott back to Boston, but turned out to be a steal for the Brewers.
Cooper spent eleven years covering first base for Milwaukee and made five All Star appearances, won three Silver Sluggers and two Gold Gloves. He finished in the top ten in the AL MVP voting in four consecutive seasons from 1980-83, and twice led all of baseball in RBI.
To this day Cooper is still second on the Brewer all-time list with 944 RBI, third in hits (1815), doubles (345) and runs scored (821) and sixth in home runs (201). Among Brewers with at least 1000 plate appearances only Ryan Braun (.313), Jeff Cirillo (.307) and Paul Molitor (.303) have a better batting average than Cooper's .302.
Thanks to the B-Ref Play Index for reminding me that Cooper turns 63 today. With help from Brewerfan.net and B-Ref, we'd also like to wish a happy birthday to:
- 2012 Wisconsin Timber Rattler Santo Manzanillo, who turns 24.
- Chris Narveson, who turns 31.
- Watertown, Wisconsin native Fred Merkle, who would have turned 124. Merkle played 16 major league seasons between 1907-26 as a member of the New York Giants and two other teams.
Today is also the fifth anniversary of Geoff Jenkins signing with the Phillies as a free agent in 2007, ending his Brewer career. We covered that event in this space last year.